As winter descends many will be looking to spend a few days or a weekend somewhere festive.
The staycation boom means many of those will scout out a place on home turf in the UK.
There is a long list of traditional Christmas boltholes: Bath, York, London, and Edinburgh, among others.
Yet, there are several hidden gems perfect for this time of year, many of which consistently lose out to the bigger players on the map.
One of those is Shrewsbury, Shropshire, whose streets sit quaint and majestic inside a loop of the River Severn, and where medieval Britain has been locked in a time capsule.
Shrewsbury has been occupied since before the Neolithic age — 2,000 BC — making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited regions in Britain, reaffirmed by the discovery of Britain’s oldest church there in 2017.
There’s evidence for the Romans, and even traces of the old Welsh Kingdom of Powis, whose seat of power is said to have been Shrewsbury.
Few of these times in history are represented in the present-day town, but there’s no doubting the town’s medieval roots.
For history lovers, Shrewsbury has one of the most complete medieval towns in England, its flagship castle and numerous buildings having stood for hundreds of years.
The town itself has undergone many changes and much-needed modernisation over the ages, gracefully blending the old with the new.
It means that for those with a taste for retail therapy, there’s no end of shops in sight.
The Dawn Centre — which has a four-star rating with 3,000 reviews on Google — contains around 20 percent of the town’s retail outlets and has a mix of independent shops such as the quirky Shrewsbury Duck store to the more established brands like New Look and Flying Tiger.
Just a stone’s throw away is one of the town’s most important places of worship, Shrewsbury Abbey.
One of the oldest in the country, it is a still-active medieval place of worship built in 1083 and has become a crucial part of the itineraries of the few who visit the town, its elegant vaulted arches and beautiful intricate artwork spellbinding.
Those who have journeyed to Shrewsbury rave about the place online, with one Trip Advisor user noting: “Shrewsbury is one of those places that you always mean to visit yet never quite manage it but this time, I got there and visited the abbey church and it was well worth the time!”
There are the museums to keep you occupied, the galleries, as well as a host of seasonal activities or simply the chance to stroll its medieval cobbled streets.
The Quarry, its beautiful park situated in a great area between the Old Town and River Severn, is the perfect place to picnic in the summer or winter, or even a short, idyllic boat ride along the Severn.
The Shrewsbury Folk Festival is one of the town’s most popular annual events, attracting people from far and wide, and as winter approaches, Shrewsbury’s famous market hall will play host to a beautiful Christmas market where festive cheers offer revellers delicious mince pies and steaming hot mulled wine.